The Center for Jewish History is the preeminent Jewish historical institute in the United States and largest Jewish archive in the world. It is the umbrella organization for five venerable partner institutions: the American Jewish Historical Society (founded in 1892), the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (1925), the Leo Baeck Institute (1955), the American Sephardi Federation (1973), and the Yeshiva University Museum (1973). The Center opened in 2000 to bring together the five partners to share operational efficiencies under one roof. Since its creation, the Center has sought to preserve the Jewish past and mobilize it in the service of public history by emphasizing the particularities of the Jewish historical experience while stressing its universal lessons. As a collaborative space for research and public engagement, the Center opens vast collections to the public and activates the stories they hold through archive and library services, fellowships, events, and exhibitions.
The partners’ archive, library, and museum holdings comprise the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of the modern Jewish experience outside of Israel. The collections span five thousand years, with more than five miles of archival documents (in dozens of languages and alphabet systems), more than 500,000 volumes, as well as thousands of artworks, textiles, ritual objects, recordings, films, and photographs.
The Center for Jewish History is home to the Lillian Goldman Reading Room, Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute, the David Berg Rare Book Room, and the Collection Management & Conservation Wing. Public programs create opportunities for diverse audiences to explore the rich historical and cultural material that lives within the Center's walls.